26 December 2015

Spatial awareness for theatre sound effects

Spatial positioning

Sound direction

When using Ableton in theatre situations the sounds have to convey natural phenomena, such as wind or storms. However, it is also their function to call forth moods and feelings the audience will recognise. To do this effectively the sounds must be believable. They must have sufficient quality but also, to imitate the physical actions on stage, must be correctly positioned spatially.

If the target of the sound effect is upstage right, then the audience will not expect the sound to appear to originate from the centre position on the stage as normal stereo panning would provide. You will need to pan appropriately.

18 November 2015

Manu - RIP

TDR Nova

I love Tokyo Dawn plugins. They give quality sounds and the introductory versions are free. The new NOVA is no exception to the rule.

Nova is a parallel dynamic equalizer. Appearing in the familiar layout of a parametric equalizer, each band also includes a full featured dynamics section allowing the processor to cover an impressively wide range of applications.

22 September 2015

23 August 2015

Shattered Glass - Code Red

Code Red Free is inspired by a classic, all tube, British console from the late 60s. The original console was known for its EQ, bold and punchy character, and the warmth it imparted.

The Beatles recorded most of their material using the original REDD consoles which were custom designed, built by and named for Abbey Road Studios in-house Record Engineering Development Department. The easily recognized overdriven sound of the Beatles' Revolution was created by chaining two preamps from this console.

Code Red Free EQ is more flexible than the original EQ adding various peaks and filters. It is also possible to save presets.
The VU meters are calibrated such that 0 VU = -18dBFS.

Download is 32/64 bit Windows/Mac and is available from Shattered Glass for free

1 August 2015

Viola Organista

Nearly 500 years after Leonardo da Vinci sketched his plans for a musical instrument he dubbed the Viola Organista, Polish concert pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki spent more than 5,000 hours making da Vinci's idea a reality. This is an amazing instrument.

There is a Kickstarter campaign to make a recording of the instrument that you may be interested in joining.

14 July 2015

More from Samplephonics

What I really like about Samplephonics is that they always focus on the unusual. Now they have produced samples of a Cumbus.
A Cumbus (in case you didn't know) is a traditional Turkish instrument shaped like a Banjo, with an aluminium resonator and skin soundboard.

When bowed it unleashes rich harmonics and evolving textural tones, perfect for creating organic pads and chords.

Get the free Freebie version here at Samplephonics

ps. there is a video as well

New from Klanghelm

If you have never heard of Klanghelm then you are really missing out. I have several VST's from these guys (I think actually it is just one guy - Tony Frenzel) and they are really good. No noise, no bother, they just do exactly what they are supposed to do.

To start you off here is a freebie. The MJUC Jr. It is is a variable-mu** compressor with lots of vibe, capable of smooth levelling but also heavy pumping effects. With its two gain stages and interstage transformer simulation it offers a very deep and lively sound stage.
The three-position timing switch not only controls the attack and release times of the unit, but also the slew rate of the transformers and the timing of the other parts of the circuitry, that are directly influencing the generated harmonics (saturation).

More details and download at Klanghelm

16 June 2015


Cool! I've been looking for some nice Shakuhachi sounds for some time and now Samplephonics have come up with the (free) goods. Go to their web site and check under Products / Free Stuff.

They are a great company who send me regular updates and offers - check 'em out.

12 June 2015

RF Music updates rf Destroyer to V1.1

RFMusic has updated their rf Destroyer to V1.1. Destroyer 1 is a free Multi-FX VST module which includes:
  • Noise Gate
  • Drive and Distortion
  • Bit Crusher
  • Pre and Master Filters
  • EQ
  • Compressor and Limiter
  • Flanger and Chorus
  • Delays and Reverb
In short it does practically everything.

Differences from V1.0 are Improved performance: Uses less CPU and Ram and loads faster.GUI: Minor changes.
Meters: More accurate.
Presets: Updated both Factory and Evil preset banks.

If you want to go the whole hog and get Destroyer 2 it will cost 30 USD

21 May 2015

Against the clock - now it's Mak & Pasteman

Against The Clock - Mak & Pasteman

Up next on FACT TV's Against The Clock series, Leeds duo Mak & Pasteman. Their tactics here are pretty simple: set a key and let the machines speak for themselves.

Posted by FACT Magazine on Thursday, 21 May 2015

12 May 2015


How cool is this? If you're lacking a bit of inspiration, what are you waiting for?
As its name suggests, Typedrummer is a drum machine that turns words from your keyboard into a rhythm. Enjoy


It's always your choice who you are. A musical tribute to Waking Life.

2 May 2015

ANS Virtual Synth

Some time ago I wrote a short article about the history of Russian synthesis and especially, the ANS Synthesiser.
Now I have produced a track which uses a short extract from the Virtual ANS Synthesiser.
I hope to do some more in the future.

21 April 2015

The Stroh violin

Impact Soundworks has announced the release of The Stroh Violin, a free (for a limited time only) Native Instruments Kontakt sample library featuring the sounds of a rare Stroh violin acoustic instrument.

Apparently the Stroh violin is an interesting variation of the classic violin design, invented and patented by electrical engineer John Matthias Augustus Stroh back in 1899 it amplifies its sound through a metal resonator and metal horns rather than a wooden sound box. It’s often used by folk music players and other musicians including Tom Waits, Thomas Newman and Bat for Lashes.
There are three custom-mapped articulations and rhythmic sequencer.


Authentic multisampled stroh violin
3x dynamic layers / up to 5x round robins
Sustain, spiccato & pizzicato articulations
Customizable mapping
3-layer rhythmic sequencer / gate
Quick controls for grit, dirt and vinyl
Lightweight and fun to use
FREE for Kontakt (full version) 5.4+

11 April 2015

Alan Vista - Chau Gongs

Alan Vista is here again with Chau Gongs, a sampled Chinese gong set.

Chau-Gongs is a sampled chinese gong set and features 3 Tamtam gongs (40, 28 and 20 inches)
and a Wind gong (20 inches) organized in 3 velocity layers with release time, pan and volume controls for each one.

Available in : VST 32 and 64 bit for Windows, VST and AU for Mac.

Download for FREE here

4 April 2015

More from Bitsonic

Earlier this year, Bitsonic released a transient shaper plugin called the Violent Transient and I spoke about here.
Bitsonic produce some pretty good kit - even better as much of it is free - yes, indeed.

Now they have taken almost the same interface and are giving it away as a Violent Delay.

13 March 2015

Alan Vista - you rang?

I'm a big fan of Alan Vista VST's. Generally they only do one thing - but they do it well. Here is another nice little VST called Thai Gongs. I'll let you guess what it is all about.
Download your gongs here.

New car !

Finally ...

10 March 2015

Bohemian Carsody

Brilliant - Queen sped up. Really, really weird and gets better every second.

23 February 2015

Bitsonic Violent Transient

The Bitsonic Violent Transient. What an intriguing name Bitsonic have given this transient shaper which they are offering for free (only for 32-bit Windows VST).

It seems to be a theme with them with products such as Godlike, Waspy, the Cannabis Vocoder and Gnat.

A transient is a high amplitude, short-duration sound at the beginning of a waveform that occurs in phenomena such as musical sounds, noises or speech. For example with the kick it's important for the sound to not only chug in deep frequency, but also slap. This can help you produce dynamic, lively music, so long as you don't overdo it - kind of like increasing the contrast in a picture - nice when applied tastefully but easy to overdo.

The Bitsonic Violent Transient can be, ahem .. a little violent if you misuse it and is not as smooth (in my opinion) as the Transient Audio Assault I looked at in a previous post.

I will absolutely have to try out the Cannabis Vocoder at some point - like some of the other Bitsonic products it is also FREE !!

20 February 2015

Flava D - Against The Clock

I enjoyed this episode of Against the Clock from Fact TV.
Flava D is part of the Butterz independent record label based in London that specializes in grime music.

6 February 2015

Staying in Key made even easier

Following my post from yesterday, this may be an even easier way to ensure that you are always playing notes from the right key.

CodeFN42 have released a FREE VST plugin called Cales.

Cales is a VST plugin that allows you to map your keyboard’s keys to a musical scale. This will ensure that you will always stay in key, and never hit a wrong note.

When "easy mode" is enabled, you can play any scale using only the white keys with "C" always being the tonic (or "root" note).

More than 20 scales are included, and you can easily add your own custom scales.

5 February 2015

How to always choose notes from the key you are working in

When creating melodies, bass runs or chords you will probably want to choose notes that fit the key you are working in.

If, like me, key theory doesn't come naturally to you here is a quick way to be sure that you can only choose notes which come from the key you are working in. 

This makes it a snip to focus on the creative work without having to stop and consider key theory.

Take the 'C minor' Midi file (or any other scale that you want to use) from Keys and chords and place it in the Session View.

Next select all the Midi notes and move them up or down until the Tonic (lowest note) matches the Key that you want to work in. For example moving to A# (Bb) will give you a key of Bb minor

Press 'Fold' to collapse all the notes. Select all the notes and use Shift up/down arrow to select a suitable range for your song.

Now delete all the notes and you are left with a grid which contains only the notes of the scale that you have chosen.

Now every note that you place in your song will be musically in-tune with your chosen scale.

Great for writing chords too.

27 January 2015

TDR Kotelnikov from Tokyo Dawn Records

In a previous post I talked about the wonderful SlickEQ from Tokyo Dawn Records. Knowing that their stuff is so good I was excited to discover that a free version of the TDR Kotelnikov wideband dynamics processor exists.

23 January 2015

Pro Tools First

If you have always wanted to try out Pro Tools but didn't want to commit your hard earned cash, you now have a chance to try it out for free.

Avid has unveiled Pro Tools | First, a free version of Pro Tools that offers many of the same music creation capabilities found in the full version.

It will come with an introductory amount of free cloud storage, so you can save and sync up to three projects at a time, and always pick up where you last left off—on any Mac or PC with Pro Tools | First installed.

It's not available yet but you can Sign Up now.

Loads of free stuff !

Splice is a cloud platform for music creation, collaboration, and sharing, and they have just launched the biggest collection of free stuff that I have seen for a long time, and it's all really good stuff.

There's lots of goodies from TAL, including their NoiseMaker which is a pretty awesome little synth.
The synth includes a small effect section with a reverb, chorus and a simple bit crusher effect.
A display shows the knob and slider values. This allows more control over the synth. A ringmodulator and a syncable triangle are also part of this synth. TAL-NoiseMaker includes new filter types as the self resonating 6dB low pass and a notch filter.

The free plugins also include Stereo Tool which lets you manage your stereo signal.
It features ultra precise control of input gain and individual pan for left and right channels.
A phase inverter is available on each channel. Global stereo pan and stereo width settings are also implemented to complete the management of the stereo signal.

Get them here

4 January 2015

Mr Tidy

I'm going out and buying BullDog clips. This is so cool - I waste so much time scrambling on the floor looking for wires that have fallen down.

Thanks to Point Blank